14 June 2013
President Jacob Zuma has reiterated the government’s support for the National Development Plan (NDP) as South Africa’s “long-term socio-economic development roadmap”, saying the plan “ensures certainty with regards to the direction of the country in the next 20 years”.
The National Development Plan is a policy blueprint for eliminating poverty and reducing inequality in South Africa by 2030. Among other things, it identifies the key constraints to faster growth and presents a roadmap to a more inclusive economy that will address the country’s socio-economic imbalances.
In his reply to the debate on the Presidency’s budget vote in Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday, Zuma came out strongly in support of the plan, following a number of media reports questioning its acceptance by some members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and its allies, the SA Communist Party and Congress of SA Trade Unions.
Zuma said that the plan aimed to fulfil a key ANC objective of “ensur[ing] a more effective government and improv[ing] the coordination and planning efforts of the developmental state”, describing it as “one of the key achievements of this fourth [2009-2014] administration.”
‘Implementation is under way’
“The Plan was adopted by Cabinet,” Zuma said. “It enjoys the support of Parliament. It was also endorsed by the ruling party, the ANC, at its national conference in Mangaung in December. The NDP also enjoys the support other sectors of society. Very few policy documents have ever enjoyed such widespread support.”
Playing down criticism of the plan as expressing the freedom of debate encouraged by the ANC’s democratic tradition, Zuma said that all government strategic plans, at national, provincial and local level, would be aligned to the NDP, adding: “[W]e are already in the implementation phase of the plan.”
Trevor Manuel, the minister in the Presidency responsible for the National Planning Commission, told Parliament on Wednesday that the process of disaggregating the plan into its first five-year building block, in the form of a 2014-19 medium term strategic framework, was under way.
Manuel also mentioned a number of reforms that various government departments had begun putting in place since the Cabinet had approved the NDP.
NDP reforms already being introduced
These included the announcement of a number of reforms championed by the Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to address capacity weaknesses in South Africa’s public service as well as strengthen the fight against corruption.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, in his 2013-14 Budget, also announced reforms to strengthen the fight against corruption in the country’s supply-chain management system by assigning a deputy director-general in his department to oversee this.
“Just this week, [Justice] Minister [Jeff] Radebe announced the far-reaching decision by the justice, crime prevention and security cluster to release publicly a list of names of people who have been convicted of fraud and corruption – demonstrating the zero tolerance approach to corruption that the NDP proposes,” Manuel said.
Towards the end of last year, the Department of Health launched a pilot project on integrated school health as a critical element of a revitalised primary health care system.
“All of these are recommendations contained in the NDP,” Manuel said, while stressing that the NDP was not a plan for the government only, and that all South Africans should be involved in initiatives to improve the country.
He said the executive summary of the NDP, translated into all 11 official languages, was now available on the National Planning Commission’s website www.npconline.co.za.
Manuel said more copies of the NDP would be printed and distributed to all public and university libraries, Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges and Thusong centres.
Work would also start immediately on producing a pocket-sized version of the NDP to ensure greater accessibility.
SAinfo reporter and SAnews.gov.za